Children and testosterone don't mix
July 23, 2012 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with toddlers and keeping them away from testosterone gel? I’m trying not to be a crazy-mom but we are visiting a relative soon who will be new to using the gel and we will all be new at the protocols.

(Anon because this involves the health info of someone who is not me.) A male relative of ours was just (as in the last few days) diagnosed with low testosterone and prescribed Androgel. I’m not worried about him. I know low testosterone is very common and he’ll be fine. My concern is with my toddler. The warnings (Abbott and NIH) listed are serious with regard to children. We will be visiting this relative in a couple weeks when he is still new at taking this medication and I am a little freaked out. Normally, I am pretty relaxed about medicine warnings but this is my kid. (Shoot, I’m even a little concerned about my exposure as a person who may become pregnant.) I understand that he needs to wash his hands and make sure to wear clothes over the area where the gel is applied and if she for some reason needs to contact his skin then the area should be washed and make sure that my kid doesn’t touch his discarded clothes or linens. Is there anything I’ve not thought about? Any experience with this (or other topical meds) and children?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Have you voiced your concern to your relative? It's a reasonable concern and one that should be easy to accommodate (he may not have to do anything different at all) but you might feel better if you knew that he was specifically aware of the potential issue. That way he would have it in his head that he needed to put the medicine somewhere that she can't get it, secure his dirty laundry (maybe lock his bedroom door or put them somewhere in the house where she won't go/can't reach) and remind himself to wash his hands and keep the gel area covered.

Most of the things that need to be done here are things that he should be doing, and there's a good chance that he already is doing them, although if he normally lives alone or has no children in the house then he may not typically worry very much about that sort of thing, so a little extra awareness could help. Just make sure that when you call/e-mail/whatever him you don't phrase it in such a way that he might take it that you think he's irresponsible – try to frame it such that you're just an extra-concerned parent and could he please humor you just for your own peace of mind.

Then all you need to do is just keep an eye on your kid (or have a responsible family member keeping an eye on her) as you normally would do whenever you're out with her. This seems eminently manageable.
posted by Scientist at 11:58 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I understand your concern, but I think you're overreacting here (which I say to try to put your mind at ease and not to castigate you). The precautions are really simple of observe, and the chances that your toddler will come into contact with the gel are really low. Make sure to discuss this with the patient, that's all.
posted by OmieWise at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

I was told by an Endocrinologist not to let my partner touch the applied area while it was wet, otherwise no issues. And that's for an intimate partner living with the user.

As long as he washed his hands after applying and the kid doesn't play with the discarded packaging, I wouldn't be at all concerned. It dries and absorbs fairly quickly and I can't imagine the skin areas where you apply the gel (upper torso) would have much contact with the kid's bare skin other than very briefly.
posted by anti social order at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can suggest that he use gloves while applying the gel. That will reduce the body surfaces with potential gel on them.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:29 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

How long will you be visiting? It's really the longish term exposure that's harmful. Not that you shouldn't be cautious; this is pretty serious stuff, and toddlers have a tendency to touch absolutely everything (and then put their hands in all sorts of highly absorbent places on their own bodies). I'd like to nth what Scientist said about being explicit with the relative about your concerns, and to emphasize to him that toddlers touch and lick and wipe everything, so you're not worried that he's irresponsible in some flaky way, just that you're aware of how little control you'll have over your toddler's behavior.

When I was in Paris with my four-year-old daughter, we were stopped waiting for traffic and I looked down and saw her licking the Pont Neuf. The rest of the week was spent in the apartment watching her throw up. Your relative really needs to understand that little kids have no concept of self-preservation or limits, and that he's got to provide 100% of the protection for her.
posted by Capri at 6:21 PM on July 23, 2012

An old boyfriend of mine was on t gel. Basically it took about 15-20 minutes for it to "dry" on his skin, and he put it on his chest. After it dried/got soaked in his skin, he put on a shirt. That was pretty much it. I've heard of women who ended up growing hair on their stomach after being intimate with their men right after t gel application. Not sure if that's rumors or truth.

I would chat with the relative. Gloves sound like a good idea. I'm sure there's some online forumns for men who use t gel and have children.
posted by manicure12 at 7:36 PM on July 23, 2012

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